We all know how periods embark the change towards womanhood for a girl. We also know how it is one of the most important moment of a girl’s life, not to forget that if she doesn’t know what it is before-hand, then she is bound to be scared about it. Here is a list of a few first year traditions that we’ve collected from people across the world:
1. When I got my first period, I was fourteen, and I didn’t know what it was. First I got scared that I was sick or something until I called my mother to tell her about it. Finally, she explained to me the whole concept of what it was. Back then, we were still told that periods were taboo and that this isn’t a happy occasion but one must always be treated with one of her favourite dishes to let us know that we have crossed the little girl phase and reached a new older one. I got 2 packets of Maggie delivered in my room!
– Ragini, 21, India
2. When I got my first period, I got a party thrown to celebrate my transition. I wasn’t supposed to leave the house for three days or be around men and children for that time. I did get a lot of presents, though.
– Shyra, 18, South Africa
3. Once it was final that I had just received my first period, a party was thrown to honor this. I was bathed by my close family and friends and fed with rich foods in isolation. Then, I was supposed to take another bath and dress up in a sari. My mom applied a lot of make-up on me and gave me a lot of jewellery to wear for that party, to signify my womanhood.
– Anonymous, Sri Lanka
4. Upon entering my first period, when I told my mother what was happening to me, she immediately slapped me across the face. It was a sign to let me know that I mustn’t reveal this to the men in the family or I will be married off immediately.
– Huda, 20, Afghanistan
5. In our country, when girls get their first period, the mother is supposed to make sekihan (sticky rice) and red beans and the whole family is supposed to eat it and guess that my transition to womanhood has begun
– Anonymous, Japan
6. In our country, our mothers are supposed to get a red and white cake and everyone else is supposed to guess what it means.
– Anonymous, Iceland
7. In Israel, the girl needs to lick a teaspoon of honey when she has her first period so that the future periods are easier.
– Anonymous, Iceland
8. When a girl gets her period for the first time, she is given a hard-boiled egg to swallow whole. Biting the egg is like killing the babies.
– Adwoa, 20, Ghana
9. I’m Filipino-American and my mom told me to have someone else pour water over me in the bat during the first day of my period to wash away the blood, impurities and bad luck.
10. Older family members tend to let you have a glass of red wine when you’re having your first period.
-Lucija, 20, Croatia
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This article is written by Ritika Chhabra, our intern.